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Is Internet Marketing an Effective Marketing Tool?

When we find something new, there is always the tendency for us to get so caught up in the novelty of it all, the hype, the excitement and the new experience that we might get a little carried away.
Internet marketing is one of those "new thing" that you might encounter.
There are clear advantages of Internet Marketing as a new medium of communications.
One of the most obvious is the fact that Internet Marketing can be low cost or "no-cost".
On top of that, its incredible reach is a clear advantage compared to traditional advertising methods.
The Internet reaches the entire world, not just your district, your state or your country.
However, it is definitely not the be-all and end-all of marketing.
It does have its fair share of limitations and idiosyncrasies.
It is so easy for us to be lulled into a false sense of wonderment at this new technology and ascribe to it capabilities that are far beyond reality.
With this in mind, let us explore some of what the capabilities are, and are not.
Of course, the very first point to note is Internet Marketing is not, be any measure, a replacement of traditional marketing.
If you thought that, perish the thought immediately.
At best, it is but an additional element in your marketing mix, at worse, it can be a distraction from your real marketing campaign.
The Internet is well capable of levels of interaction never before possible.
Immediately, you can get feedback from your audience through comments, feedback forms, forums and emails.
Internet Marketing that does not take advantage of this incredible capability totally misses the mark.
Another allure of Internet Marketing, and one of its main pitfalls, is the misconception and the unfortunate association with, get-rich-quick schemes.
Marketing, in all its various forms have all gone through this "phase" in their development.
Take for example, Direct Marketing.
In the early days of Direct Marketing, many of these companies have touted it's "get-rich-quick" aspects.
And many in the mainstream shunned the medium for a long time.
In fact, it was only a short two decades or so that Direct Marketing has been acknowledged as a viable and powerful marketing strategy.
Internet Marketing is facing its own test at this time.
While there are many legitimate Internet Marketing programs, there are many times more dubious programs that tout unproven results and hyped up, sensationalized achievements.
As marketers, we cannot ignore Internet Marketing.
At the same time, we need to come to grasp with what it really is, and see through the hype and hoopla to tap the true potential of this powerful, new medium.
We advocate Internet Marketing to be used as a component in your marketing strategy.
Usually, when you launch a product, a lot of time and effort are put into the Above The Line (ATL) Advertisements, the Pricing Model, the Launch Offer, the Channel Stragegies and so on.
All these are valid.
Then, a month before launch, the boss says, "Oh, yeah, and let's have a web site up for it.
" On the other extreme, over emphasis on Internet Marketing to the neglect of the other essential elements of a successful marketing campaign can have an even worse impact on the company and the success (or rather, failure) of the product.
Internet Marketing elements like email marketing, online feedback, interactive advertisements and so on, should form a key part of the overall marketing communications plan.
They should complement and enhance your traditional marketing methods.
Internet Marketing is a tool.
As much as TV commercials, giant billboards, bus ads, taxi ads, radio ads and so on are all tools of the trade for advertising.
Promotions, Direct Mail and sales hooks are all part and parcel of the marketing push.
They are all tools in the able marketer's arsenal.
Internet Marketing can be your best, newest, shining-est tool.
But it is a tool nonetheless and should be used as such wisely.
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